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Indy Council Committee postpones vote on charitable organization registration proposal

Proposal 256 would require charitable organizations to register with the city before passing out free food, toiletries, etc
Volunteer hands food to community member
Posted at 11:46 PM, Aug 24, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-25 23:44:36-04

INDIANAPOLIS — Wednesday night, the Indianapolis City-County Council's Public Safety & Criminal Justice Committee, voted to postpone their vote on Proposal 256 to a later date. Prop 256 would require mutual aid organizations to register with the city or face fines: $250 the first time after a written warning; $500 each time afterward.

In an act of defiance, protesters gave away free food to the unhoused community at Lugar Plaza Wednesday afternoon. It was put together by Jonathan Howe and Wildstyle Paschall, two people who devote their time to care for those living on the streets.

Noah Leininger, a community activist, was also there to show his support. He addressed the concerns some of the councilors have put forth as to why Prop 256 is needed.

RELATED: Indy Council wants organizations to register before giving out free food, necessities to those in need

"If there's a problem with litter, put some more trash cans around. If there's a problem of people using a restroom where they shouldn't be using the restroom, unlock some of the restrooms downtown so people have a place to do their business in a secure and private area," Leininger said.

Leininger says if Proposal 256 is eventually passed, he and others who work in charitable aid, won't obey the ordinance.

"It's our right to help our fellow humans in need," he said.

At the committee meeting, a majority of speakers echoed Leininger's sentiments., telling the city-county council to not pass Prop 256 out of committee. After hearing the emotional testimony, Councillor Frank Mascari said he was going to vote against the measure.

Postponing the vote on Proposal 256 passed 9-2. It will be in committee again at a later date.

Proposal 250, which approves an appropriation of $76,000 to buy two permanent bathrooms and cleaning services for the public's use, did pass, but was amended. After public testimony against the proposed City Safe Distribution Sites, the bathrooms will not be located at the Old City Hall or Babe Denny Park. New locations have not been selected.